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FBI Had Wiretaps of Bugsy Siegel

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Fountain Hills, AZ May 13, 2013 – According to records released through the FBI’s Freedom of Information Act and highlighted in the just-released book, Vegas and the Mob, the FBI used wiretaps and microphone surveillance to determine what “Bugsy” Siegel and his associates (particularly Meyer Lansky, Frank Costello, Virginia Hill, and Moe Sedway) were doing in Las Vegas. Siegel and Sedway were running the gaming at the Las Vegas Club, El Cortez, and the Golden Nugget when “Bugsy” pushed his way into a deal with Billy Wilkerson who was building the Flamingo casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Although the information gained through a wiretap at Siegel’s Las Vegas Club casino was helpful, the FBI felt compelled to ask the US Attorney’s Office for additional wiretaps at all residences, businesses, and hotels that Siegel frequented. Permission was granted. Afterward, additional wiretaps were placed at many restaurants and the homes of known associates of Siegel. According to Nevada casino historian Al W Moe, no information gained was used to stop the Mob from running the Flamingo hotel, nor was the FBI aware that “Bugsy” was soon to be removed from the picture of Las Vegas casinos by a Mob hit. A year later, there were five casinos run by Mob bosses from the east coast. Within a decade, a dozen casinos were run by Mob families from Chicago, Detroit, New York, Buffalo, Kansas City, and Cleveland.

The FBI never tired of keeping tabs on the Las Vegas owners, secret or not, that ruled the city’s casinos, but it took 25 years before fines and indictments for financial irregularities became common in Sin City. Most of the casinos that had mob ties, such as the Sands, Dunes, Hacienda, Desert Inn, Thunderbird, and Stardust are all long gone, transformed into new, larger casino resorts that are owned by large corporations with millions of stock holders. Ironically, the three casinos that were first owned by “Bugsy” Siegel, smaller locations in Downtown Las Vegas, are all still in business today. Apparently, the Las Vegas Club, El Cortez, and Golden Nugget casinos all had a solid foundation and are still profitable today.

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